Thank You Victor Hugo!

Gumshoe was admiring the Southern California sun rays that penetrated the clouds through the moderate smog level (cough, cough) when my swing-shift patrol reverie was abruptly disturbed by the police “Red” radio channel emergency alert tone.

Courtesy Informational Note for Civilians:

All of the twenty-plus local police agencies within Orange County had their very own dedicated police radio channel within their respective cities.

“Red“ channel was a separate police radio channel that could broadcast throughout all over Orange County and be monitored by all of the law enforcement jurisdictions within the county.

Emergency “Red” channel police broadcasts were for wanted felony suspects; escapees; felonies just occurred (bank robberies) stolen vehicles; missing persons and for inter-county police vehicle pursuits crossing through several jurisdictions or from vehicle pursuits coming into Orange County from outside jurisdictions.

These “APB’s (all points bulletins) now known as BOLO’s (be on the lookout for) on “Red” channel were pretty darn effective in catching the evildoers and fun to listen to since you never knew if you would be the “Red” channel hero of the day.  Sort of like winning the “cap crusader lottery” and that “15 minutes of fame thing”.

This concludes this public notification; now back to my tale.

Okay, now gentle readers, all of you have now gained some “inside baseball” knowledge of police communications within Orange County California.

Important Advisory Note: No worries, there won’t be a test or even a pop quiz.

All of the cops (including Gumshoe) inside of our own respective cop-mobiles (AKA “mops”—mobile office patrol shops) would always perk-up our ears and get a conditioned adrenaline rush when the “Beep! Beep!” sound notification of a “Red” channel broadcast.

Well, “here I go,” Gumshoe thought as I tossed by half-eaten crunchy taco (blah!) outside my driver’s side window as I heard the approaching whales of sirens entering into my fair city of Orange and into my assigned patrol beat.

Moments before the “Red” channel dispatch advised of a stolen vehicle driven by a wanted male felon who was being pursued by another city police agency.

Gumshoe’s radio received the latest (and ever-changing) speed, compass direction, and the street (intersections) being rapidly traversed by  “real-time” up-grades by one of the officers involved in the pursuit parade.

(He probably also tossed out his fine American made fast food before this excitement too, double blah!)

Note:  His “radio voice” seemed very casual and calm as a veteran street copper rather than the much dreaded “frantic” and “screeching banshee” voice of a rookie — (think of scalding coffee accidentally dumped on your unsuspecting crotch at a McDonald’s drive-through).

Gumshoe approached the presumed upcoming intersection (based upon the most recent pursuit broadcast upgrade) at “warp speed Scotty” just in time to observe the suspect crash into an intersection adjoining curb with the customary adjoining fire hydrant.

(Think of the majestic fountain show at the Bellagio in Vegas).

The drugged-fueled motivated felon immediately abandoned his stolen ride and he was “fleet of foot”. He avoided the impromptu hydrant water geyser show and he quickly arrived at the front double-door entrance at a Catholic Church on the opposite corner.

Note: This was not Sunday nor a Holy Day of obligation to us Catholics by the way.  There was no “Bingo” either.

Gumshoe was already  “fleet of foot” (also avoiding the sprouting H2O geyser) abounding out of Gumshoe’s police hack.

The suspect attempted to do an “Incredible Hulk“ routine by physically attempting to muscle open the locked church doors.

(Begone Satan!)

Gumshoe along with a small gaggle of other moderately excited blue-suited compadres gingerly approached this trapped troglodyte (both of his hands were still locked on the outside door handles of the locked House of God) as several outside helping-hands unceremoniously literally plucked him backward and temporarily airborne.  One of his shoes was left on the pavement.

Simultaneously, the flying suspect cried out, “I claim sanctuary!” as he landed with a whoosh. Gumshoe almost stopped and laughed during this group airborne assist and the subsequent cuffing of this misguided miscreant. Gumshoe’s thoughts of Esmeralda with her dramatic salvation from her pending execution by the grasp of the strong arms by the rope swinging Quasimodo as he shouted “Sanctuary!” as he swung down and back up to the heights of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Obviously, dear readers, this “termination of the suspect pursuit” and his vain shrill-cry of “Sanctuary!” only resulted in him finding permanent “Sanctuary” inside of the Orange County Jail with his fellow penitents.

Note:  Gumshoe likes to think that he will eventually have the time, “doing time”, by reading Victor Hugo’s gothic French classic? Personal self-improvement through state-sponsored education at its best Gumshoe supposes.

Well, until next time dear readers, remember to love the ones who love you and even try to love the ones who don’t.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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    • I truly believe that humor was a personal gift from God to this Gumshoe to survive and thrive in the four decade plus career of madness and mayhem. Thanks Nightingale!

    • You sooooooo right Ken. Truth always trumps fiction in police work from my experiences behind the badge.

    • Thanks bro! Sometimes it was great to have such a “ring side” seat to the human comedy.